Thursday, November 24, 2011

Waiting with Grace

1:00am Thanksgiving morning.  I thought for sure yesterday I was in labor.....contractions all during the day, culminating in a 45 minute walk with intense contractions every 2-3 minutes......until I came home and laid down, then they seemed to dissipate and mostly disappear. I sit....debating whether or not to call it a night and turn in.

I am struck by the fact that this could indeed be my last night of pregnancy......ever.  And, so, I wait patiently with my little Grace....enjoying her on the inside snuggling and squirming inside of me, and also eagerly anticipating her arrival to the outside world.

It is not lost on me, this most meaningful timing...whether or not she arrives on Thanksgiving Day, or chooses to wait a few more days.  As we close this season of childbearing, it is not without significance that she will arrive in the season of Thanksgiving.  These past seven years of pregnancies and childbearing have been full of joy, love, and laughter.....of God's greatest gifts being revealed to us through our four precious children.  A mama at heart and by design, I both embrace these gifts and mourn for the season that is about to pass, yet I look forward with eager anticipation to what lies ahead for our little family.  I have come to be thankful for the cozy little farmhouse God has provided us with, and realize that our family will have special and happy memories of life here, in and around this house.  We will look back and remember the slapping of little hands and knees as our tiny ones began to crawl, then toddle, and the pitter patter of little feet as the two year olds took off with confidence.  We'll likely always hear the hearty laughter and giggles of little children as they race around the house playing hide and seek or tag, the chatting and laughing upstairs long after the lights have been turned off. I'll hear the squeaking of the floorboards as Papa rocks Anna Ruth in the old rocking chair and sings Blessed Assurance to yet another child. I'll see the little boys sitting in stuffed Thomas the Train chairs, flanking their Papa as he leads the Ordway Family Prayer Council.  I'll hear Jason's voice as he weaves the story of Hansel and Gretel the Two Cows, or he of me as I recount Annie's Adventures. We'll remember sneaking up the stairs to hear Caleb singing a mournful dirge or praying for 10 minutes on and on and on while Emet listens and interjects...We'll see two little boys racing their dumptrucks and bicycles up and down the gravel driveway and around the yard....children on the swingset...exploring the barn.  Two little boys will remain in our hearts as they haul their load of wood up from the woodshed, increasingly with a little sister in tow.  Had our nest been bigger or fancier, I'm not sure the experience would have been quite the same.  And despite all of the times I have been frustrated by its simplicity and needs, I am beginning to see that life in this simple country home has been one of our biggest blessings.

And so, as I ponder these precious the passing of one season to another, I cling to my time here as I wait with Grace......and I am thankful for the Grace that has been given me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Savoring this precious last...

I have been wanting to capture a few thoughts of these last precious days while Grace is still inside of me.  Thus, here I sit curled up on the couch in front of a cozy woodstove fire while the children are nestled in their beds, and Jason asleep beside me.

This pregnancy has been a special one, perhaps because Jason and I are planning for it to be our last, so I'm not taking much for granted.

One day in particular that I'll always remember is our big ultrasound.  We were fortunate to have my parents as well as Grandma Marion and Ann Stolberg there with us in the ultrasound room.  All of our children were there as well - Caleb, Emet, and Anna Ruth.  As usual, Jason and I were alone for the medical portion of the ultrasound and for the first reveal of her gender.  Then, we were able to bring everyone in...  The children were delighted to see our newest family member on the screen, but what I hope to never forget was Anna Ruth's happy chuckle when she saw the baby move around on the screen as she sat cuddled in Papa's lap.....or how when the technician told everyone it was a girl, Caleb's first comment in his little matter of fact voice was "Now we have two little sisters to look out for each of us...that's what I say!"

Although this pregnancy has been quite a bit more physically straining than my others, I have really made an effort to stop and enjoy the unique things my body does to nurture the baby and prepare for her birth.  Soon, we will be meeting our newest baby girl, Grace....and we are all so excited for that day.  Emet's frequent comment is "Oh, when is Gracie coming?  I just can't wait to meet Gracie."  Caleb always says, "I just can't wait to hold Gracie." And, little Anna Ruth points to her car seat, now installed and ready in the car, or her diapers...ready and waiting in Mama's night stand, and says "Baby?".

Yet for now, I am absolutely in love with watching her wriggle and squirm inside of me......and squirm she does! She has been my most active baby by far.  I can actually feel certain body parts poking about - a little bottom, knees, and maybe even her little feet.

My body is weary and ready for her to be born, but my heart is treasuring this time...and savoring these last few days of experiencing life inside of me.......

"In everything, give thanks...."  1 Thessalonians 5:18