Friday, December 16, 2011

From Here to Maternity...

It's finally here. Well tomorrow at least, the day when our sweet baby girls' will be born. As I'm sitting her writing this from what has been my home for the last month, it's hard to believe that in less than 24 hours; Tyler and I will be the parents of 4 children. Last night we were talking after he had put the kids to bed and going over all that has transpired in the almost 7 years we have been married. I asked him, "Did you ever think that when we met in the 4th grade, that one day we would be sitting here on the phone, getting ready to meet our twin girls?" He just laughed and said, "Never!"

There are moments when it feels we just got the news at 8 weeks pregnant that we were expecting identical twins. Then there are other days, as my mom says, "It feels like you have been pregnant forever!" The past 4 weeks have felt that way. I had to find strength, endurance, and patience I never knew I had. As you know I've never wanted sympathy, our situation is/was temporary and we knew going in, that no matter what happened we would come out on the other side. I have hated being away from home. Being away from Tyler, Keller and Presley for this long is something I pray I never have to go through again. So many late nights were spent crying in this hospital room as I longed to be with them. Missing dinners together, doing homework, reading stories and giving baths soon become a thing of the past and Tyler had to step up even more. As I sit here writing this, tears fill my eyes as I think of all Tyler has done in these past months. He is the most unselfish, giving and compassionate man I have ever known. There is absolutely no way I would have gotten through any of this without him. Even these words don't do him justice. God blessed me abundantly with a man who showed me more than ever what "through sickness and health" really means.

As much as Tyler did, he didn't go at it alone. Words will never be able to express how much all the calls, texts, emails and visits have meant to us. Your encouragement kept us going. For those that fed my family, multiple times when I wasn't able too, or just took the kids away for a few hours so Tyler could have a break. For Kristen Groves who took such great care of my little buddy everyday after school, helping him with his homework and bringing him home. People like you all, make situations like this more bearable. We are forever grateful for all the everyone has done for our family. Tyler and I say frequently that we can't wait to pay it forward.

To group mine and Tyler's parents in with everyone else wouldn't seem right to me. I have no idea how families can't live close to each other. I know for some it is by choice, but not for Tyler and I. Having our parent's close,and ready and willing to help has been the biggest blessing ever. I think of my mom and all that she's done. I can think of maybe one doctor's appointment she missed. She was the first one I called one something just "didn't feel right" and the first one to say, "I'll pick you up in 10 minutes" for one of our many trips to the doctor. She has slept on uncomfortable hospital beds and taken tedious notes on all the things the doctors' were saying. She sit there when we learned the news that Berkley was behind and may not make it and was the one that said, "We will get through this, you know I'm always here." She made sure that our Thanksgiving in the hospital was special by bringing in food and pretty tablecloths. She was my mom. And tomorrow she gets to witness the birth of her granddaughters. I can't think of a better way to say, "thank you." More than anything, my dad, and my mother & father in law loved on my kids when I wasn't able too. They let them stay the night, watched them after school and made their little lives more stable in an unstable time. God is so gracious for giving us parents like that.

It's so quiet on the floor today, well my room is quiet at least. I hear call buttons going on and off and the sound of a baby's heartbeat beating loudly on the monitor next door. But my room is calm. I know that come 7:00 tonight, the calmness will quickly fade away as I get to see Keller and Presley one last time before surgery. One last time to kiss their faces before Keller becomes a big brother for the 2nd and 3rd time and Presley a big sister for the 1st time. My sisters, Kelsey and Kaylee and my mom's sister will get here this evening, just in time for the birth of their nieces. As many of you know, Kelsey is my very best friend and I am more than thrilled her schedule allowed her to come down. Kelsey is the person you want around when you are not feeling well. She is a caretaker through and through. When I was first put on bed rest I got a huge basket from her full of magazines, books, puzzles and nail polish. When I was admitted into the hospital she was the one who went out and bought me XL shirts and pants so I wouldn't have to wear the awful hospital gowns. She made being here more comfortable. She is the best.

Tyler and I will spend our last night together this evening as mom and dad of two. Tomorrow that will all change. The morning will come faster than we think and soon the hustle and bustle will begin in preparation for the c-section. I'm so excited that my other best friend, also a Kelsee will be here to document all the excitement. She took our family pictures and my maternity pictures. She is super talented and I'm so happy she gets to be apart of our big day.

I'm a little anxious, but not worried. We have complete trust in Dr. Fanous and know he's going to take great care of me. The girls' are going to be born early at 34 weeks and 3 days. This may sound too early, but for us, this is a day we didn't know if we would see. Remember when our main goal was at least getting to 24 weeks? And here we are at 34. We are in a great place. We are anticipating NICU time and know the girls' will be little, but the fact that they made it this far has truly been a miracle. We have been through a lot to get to this point. Weekly appointments at numerous doctor's, labor and delivery visits, getting injections every week... the list goes on. It was all worth it. Every bit of it. More than anything I'm going to miss feeling them move and flip inside me. For the past 8 1/2 months I have been their primary caregiver. Keeping them safely tucked away inside. Not having this huge belly in front will be something I will truly miss. What a miracle it was to carry not one, but two precious babies'.

I'm sure sleep won't be easy to come by tonight as I think about what Berkley and Harper will look like, how much they will weigh etc. More than anything I pray they both let out a wail that rings through the hospital walls. I want them to announce their presence with gusto" "I'm here world! Here I am!" Now I'm sure we will change our tune soon enough, like when they are both crying in the middle of the night- but for now, we want to hear those lungs fill with air and their cries to echo off the walls. We pray that as they grow that God will fill their little hearts to overflowing. We long to hear them crying out in joy to their Lord and Savior. We know that God is the only one who can ultimately meet their every need and desire. We want to show them from an early age that God will never fail them and that He is the one source of true joy. We thank God for these precious children.

Please pray for us tomorrow as we go into surgery at 11:00. Pray for guidance over Dr. Fanous and his team. Pray that Berkley and Harper will have minimal issues and enter into the world peacefully. Pray for Keller and Presley as they aren't with us. We will keep you guys updated as soon as we are able. Thank you again for sharing this journey with us.

Much love, Kara

"A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world." John 16:21

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Do you have the time?

You know I do. Sitting in a hospital room for 24 hours a day leaves you with a lot of time on your hands. And while I've caught up on thank you notes, shopped online and addressed our Christmas cards, I've also had a lot of time to think. It's amazing the things you think about when you are alone most of the day without the distractions of kids, work and life in general. At first I found it tedious. Boring even. But then I started to look at it from a different perspective. I would NEVER in my life have this time again. In 14 short days my days of watching movies on Netflix and doing crossword puzzles uninterrupted will be long gone. In there place will be loads of poopy diapers, dance classes and t-ball games. Life is going to be chaotic, to say the least. I will have no more me time. But guess what? I can't wait.

The hardest part of my hospital stay most definetely has been not seeing my kids as much as I would like. They try to come up daily, but some days they just can't. I miss them terribly. Miss hearing about their day at school, doing Keller's homework with him, giving Presley a bath. All those things I took for granted now that I'm the one that can't do them. So I started thinking about time. Specifically the time we spend with our kids.

What distracts us from time with our children? In every family this looks different, but it’s important to take an honest look at our own schedules and to adjust so that we can come alongside our children as they walk through this tricky thing called life.

I would be willing to bet that when you ask your kids when they are older when they felt most loved they would say it was in the unplanned moments sitting around a table and telling stories, or laughing at something silly until milk comes out of their nose, or when mom or dad sits beside their bed at night and asks them about their day–and really listens. Time equals love to a child, even if they don’t tell us in those words.

I’ve got two (almost four) amazing kids. I really do. They are wildly funny, imaginative, moody, opinionated, strong, weak, happy, sad, good and sometimes not so good. In other words they’re pretty normal. And while I’ve done everything in my power to raise them to turn out amazingly awesome – and they very well might turn out amazingly awesome – there aren’t any guarantees.

Sometimes bad parents raise terrific kids.

And sometimes terrific parents raise kids that chase bad things their whole life.

So, what’s a mama to do?

Embrace the process. Learn from the process. Let God speak to us during the process. And see the process of raising kids as an ongoing opportunity to invest beyond ourselves. We get to love our kids like crazy. Pray for them faithfully. Talk to them regularly. Listen to them tenderly. Model honesty and integrity. And point them to Jesus at every turn.We get to do all that.And tucked within these privileges is the reward. As long as I look for the reward within the process, I won’t misplace my expectations. I have to rest in the assurance that God sees everything I invest in these kids.And He will use every step of this process for good. The process will be good for me. And this process will good for my kids. It will be good. But this process won’t always make me feel good or look good.If I always expect my kids to make me feel good or look good, I am setting us all up for failure. My kids were never meant to carry the weight of a mama’s need for validation. I can’t let their failures send me to bed. And I can’t wear their successes like mommy medals of honor.

Motherhood is tough you know?

It really is.

However, it’s also our only opportunity, our only time to reach into the generations to come and make a difference. So, an imperfect but wonderful difference I will make. Won't you join me?

Dear Lord, time passes so fast and I feel pressured by so many things. Please take inventory of my life and show me the places where I need to adjust. Look at every area and help me to know how to find balance, and to connect with my beautiful child. In Jesus’ Name, Amen