Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I also spent some time reading portions of Stepping Heavenward last night. I've read it at least 3 times since I was 16 - and each time it means more to me because I'm at a different part of life both developmentally (schooling, marriage, pregnancy) and spritually. My mom and I were talking on the weekend and remembered that she loses a child in that book. So I was able to find and read another's thoughts on the subject. In one part, she says that with a child "gone" she finds that her spirit is bound by an invisible thread of consciousness to the world to come - and in this way she can never be completely absorbed in the sweetness of this world again. I read it and sighed. That is exactly how I feel! I love my husband, and my family, and my church, and so many friends... I hope (and pray!) we'll have more children... but there is such an acute sense of "this is not all there is". I find myself looking forward to Jesus' return - versus the way I used to think - that it was real but not real for me. :)
Another part says: "My comfort is in my perfect confidence in the goodness and love of my Father, my certainty that He had a reason in thus afflicting me that I would admire and adore if I knew what it was." I had that underlined years ago - but now it jumps out at me with such a burst of understanding... I know what she was saying - and I believe it with all my heart.
So - after that wrestling match with my Lord - and with a tender hip (wink!) I woke up this morning with a fair amount of energy. Many of the flowers - the beautiful flowers! - were dying and needed to be either rearranged or taken to meet their fateful end. Such a shame - and I got such pleasure out of all of them! But a necessary task for today. I was able to salvage parts of various bundles - and create some new ones like the one below that is in our bedroom now.Some other survivors of the 'cull'. :) The orchids are from Baba & Gydo and Auntie Kathy... Kurt is feeling a small-amount of pressure to make sure they live... (grin!)
I also got some organizing done - like the shelf in Autumn's room... I can't really bring myself to think of dismantling anything yet. So, for now, I'll put up pictures, and leave the rocking chair - and give myself time to go in there and cry. Or smile... whichever is needed. :) Still love that picture of her hand in mine... when we got them developed, the guy at Wal-Mart (not knowing she was not alive) made all sorts of comments on how cute she was - and said that this picture - in particular - was amazing and that we should laminate it or something. It was a blatant up-sell of Wal-Mart products and services (Hey - I worked retail for a while - grin!) But we just smiled like proud parents and said, "Yes, she is beautiful, isn't she?" :)
I also dusted, helped Kurt fold laundry, put together some stuff for Autumn's memory box (the outfit we had her in at the hospital, and some other gifts/mementos), put up some pictures, made fruit salad (can't waste good fruit!), and baked a couple of loaves of banana bread. All this while Kurt kept calling from his office (it was an organizing day for him, too), "Kendall - don't overdo it!"(Yes - that is my blog on the computer screen... Kurt is a fan... or just likes to stay updated on what I say about him.. wink-wink!)
Oscar also had a productive day.
Yes, I am being factitious. ;)
Thanks for your continued prayers, everyone... we feel every one of them.
the Manzville gang
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
What a rock I've married. :)
I had another massage today - and she said that my neck "felt better". I guess that strained muscles give off heat. (?) So I was less "hot" than last week. Interesting development. Also nice to be able to look to the right and the left. Honestly, some of the major tension departed after Autumn's funeral on Friday. Plus, I know people are praying for me...
When I left the office there was the cutest little girl, there... only 6 months old - all smiles and giggles... and you know what? It only made me a little bit sad. For this I praise God - I do not want to become a bitter woman who begrudges others their happiness.
Kurt also vacuumed today. Only because he didn't want me to do it... chuckle. All these beautiful flowers have "flower pieces" falling off of them - and they are all over the floor. I've held myself back from dusting... not really a difficult task since I hate dusting. :) But with the new pictures we have around, I'd kinda like to put them on dust-free surfaces. Tomorrow's task, I guess.
I also wanted to take the time to thank some people I've been unable to acknowledge yet: for all those who have commented on the blog - I read and love all your comments. God uses you on an almost daily basis to remind me of His goodness - and how blessed I am. Family, friends, strangers - thank you for reaching out to us.
Laurie: I understand exactly what you meant about wanting a trial to grow closer to the Lord. How many times in the past did I think the exactly same thing - and then pray, "But I don't really want trials, Lord..." :) Although I would not have picked this (and still struggle with being overcome with grief and despair) I do realize - more than ever - that God has got me firmly in His grasp. I love Him more than I ever have... and that brings more joy than I would have thought possible in these circumstances.
Andrea Z! The flowers you left for us are beautiful... I realize I don't even have a current email address or phone number for you - so drop me a line to my old PAWS account to let me know how to get in touch with you.
(Another picture: don't we look like proud parents? Such a little nose... but I can see where Kurt thinks she gets it from me.)
I'm going to go eat some supper now - funny how my appetite is non-existent... but thanks to our friends, and their generous food deliveries, my husband is staying fed. :)
Sunday, October 28, 2007
To walk into that church and see all the people who wanted to mourn with us - oh - my heart was so grateful to God! Friends, coworkers, family... I wish I could have hugged all of you - and although I said thanks from the front, and talked briefly to some of you at the lunch, it doesn't seem adequate. People who flew just to be with us as we said goodbye to Autumn... I can't thank you enough! Truly - there are no words to express what your tears and hugs mean to us.
The songs we sang were gifts: I wanted to stand and shout, "I trust you, Lord!" and the songs did that for me. My brother, Kiley, sang a song for Autumn and that touched my heart deeply. I had wanted to sing for her - but wasn't sure I would be able to get through... so God moved my brother to do that for me. I am so grateful.
I was so blessed to hear Murray speak. He said exactly what we wanted to have said. This world is fallen - broken and futile. God is so merciful and kind - and while he does not guarantee our security in earthly terms... He has secured a future for those who will believe in His Son. This is our hope! This is the God I cling to even as my heart is broken and my tears fall... He is not changed by His actions - but these events have driven me to hold onto him with a desperation I never could have imagined before.
And in so doing - I am more convinced of His goodness than I ever could have been had everything proceeded according to my wishes. His hands have broken me... but I know that someday I will kiss them in thankfulness. When His word says that the sufferings of this world are not worthy to be compared with the glories to come... I think, "Wow - that must be some kind of glory!" because He doesn't lie or even exaggerate. He is not stringing me along to laugh at me when I fall on my face in some sort of cruel practical joke. He does not tell me to act as though my daughter's death does not affect me in a false sense of martyrdom... but he does ask me to show the world how beautiful Christ is as I rejoice in Him while in the depths of sorrow. So that is all I am doing: crying and burying my face on Jesus' gentle shoulder. He knows I am weak, weary and heavy laden - but my soul is resting in the knowledge that he does all things well. I cannot get myself through this - but he is powerful and will carry me through the pain.
After the lunch, we drove out to Leask to bury our daughter. On the way there, Kurt and I listened to a CD we had made to play overhead when people were entering the church before the funeral. They are songs we've always liked - and yet God, by these events - has caused us to love the words even more. The CD label is Autumn's Songs... and her uncle Cody burned it for us. Avalon sings a song called "You Were There" and I find that my trust in God is strengthened each time I hear it. Faith doesn't 'make sense'... and yet the power of trusting God is not so much the knowing how things will end - as knowing the strength and wisdom and kindness of the One who orchestrates and brings about events.
Being at the graveyard was so hard. What a petite little casket for such a tiny little girl... I was not expecting to be so broken by seeing it and knowing she was "in there". My heart hurt so much - worse than knowing we were leaving her at the hospital was placing her in the ground. Kurt and I chose to have her buried in a little sleeper that says Mommy's Girl and a blanket that her Gramma Manz made for her. Although I know she is not "there"... it makes me feel better, as her Mommy, to think of her little body swaddled in a warm and cozy blanket made with love.
Kurt got to help lower her casket into the ground with his brother and my two brothers. It was good for him to be able to help place her there... and a final act he could do to care for his little girl with his brothers beside him. For this, I am also grateful. I went up to the hole later and looked at the resting place of my baby, and as tears ran down my face I knew - knew - that God was giving me strength to walk away and not simply fall to the ground and pound it in frustration and helplessness.
We've been "hiding out" at mom and dad's since Friday. Our house - although never having had Autumn there - is still full of memories and I've needed some down time before we face all that. Today I woke with tears - knowing it has been a week since I've held my baby and that our life without her is just starting... but as we sat in mom and dad's living room and talked about the week - and the blessings we've received - I was able to move beyond the raw sorrow and self-pity. Praise God. :)
Please keep praying for us. My physical health is not something I am used to being concerned about - but this back and neck tension is overwhelming. My husband is resting well at night - but is understandably weary... and I feel badly leaning on him for too long. That said, I have to be aware that it is his desire to take care of me and it isn't something I should take away from him. Such a fine balance to maintain. :) I am still overcome with tears as I think about what she would be looking like after a week, or how chubby she would have been with all this nice milk I'm producing... (chuckle) or how good it would feel to hold her - but what a consolation that God knows loss and pain, too...
He is using you in ways you cannot imagine to minister to our hearts. We thank Him for you all.
Kurt & Kendall
Thursday, October 25, 2007
It's a greenhouse in here! (chuckle)
Never completely understood the power of flowers and cards before - but thank you, again - from the bottom of my heart for your love and concern. They're all so beautiful!
I hope Oscar won't find them delicious. ;)
A special note to Wendy: I received your message today and it was so wonderful to hear your voice. Thank you for your prayers and tears... Lord willing, we can see you someday to give you the hugs that your words made us want to return. Thanks to you and Ken for making that effort to reach out to us. :)
We're going to pick up her pictures for the funeral and get frames - if you read this you can pray that I don't break down in Wal-Mart. :) Again.
Seriously... it happened yesterday. Sometimes I cry over falling prices... chuckle.
Yes - she laughs...
Isn't God so good? :)
Love you all,
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
(Nana - my mom.)
There have been such dark, dark places where I've felt nothing but my heart hurting and my body aching with the knowledge that my little one is gone. There is a roaring in my ears, and tension in my back and neck... I would not be good at chronic pain. (chuckle)
(Grampa - Kurt's dad.)
BUT - and this is a big one - God has been so merciful in the middle. :) Monday was so surreal. I was awakened by my husband's sobs - and our big dopey dog trying to jump on the bed (a strict no-no!) to comfort him. Giggles in the midst of trying to wipe our noses and reprimand Oscar... but a huge relief to have something pull us away from that edge of despair. :) Speaking of whom: Oscar hardly knows what to do these days. He knows we are sad, but he doesn't know what is missing... I've had his bone dropped on my lap so many times as he tries to play with me and make me feel "happy". I guess he thinks the bone does it for him... giggle. :) He also cries with us: whimpers and wags his tail and tries to lick away the tears. Annoying - but we've had so many sobs interrupted with laughter by him... what a blessing. :)
(Gramma - Kurt's mom.)
We were covered with love by so many: friends bringing food, flowers, hugs - and the tears which helped spread out our grief.
And the emails and blog replies - my goodness people! :)
We're so wonderfully overwhelmed! You will never know - because I know I never did on the "comforter" side - what strength God gives us through you. I want so badly to reach out to everyone who has reached out to us and acknowledge each personally with a smile - to comfort you with the knowledge that you are helping us... but Kurt limits the amount of time he wants me to spend on that and says, "Good thing you started that blog, then." (lol)
Every time we've told the story of our baby there is a sense of "Yes - it really did happen. She's real." Deep down - that has been my fear. That I will forget her. That I would end up just "moving on" and progressing as though nothing has happened. My stomach has shrunk, and my ankles are skinny - and my toes look like they've grown (read all my previous posts to hear of my ankle/toe woes) ... and on Monday there was no evidence of my milk coming in. And, in the moments after everyone was gone on Monday I hugged her afghan and wept - because I had talked about her all day - but hadn't had the chance to think about her. I want to cry. I want to feel my body say, "Where is that baby you've been getting ready for?"
But people are saying to me, "Later - you'll feel her loss. Your arms will ache to hold her." They are trying to caution me about what lies ahead... and instead it worrying me, I praise God! I'm filling with milk - and it hurts - (dang-it! chuckle) - but I'm so happy because our baby - our Autumn - is on my mind every time I move. Funny - these small smiles perk me up so deeply.
There are so many mercies in the midst of this grief.
The time we got to spend holding her - it grows more precious the further away from Sunday we move. The pictures we took - not even realizing in the middle of all that how vaulable they would be because that is all we have left of her.
The knowledge that God knows where she is - and I'm not supposed to worry about that.
God's character is not changed by this act... he is the same God who gave us 9 precious months of joy... and they were precious! :)
The pain of labor: I never got the chance to cry about the "should have beens"... Autumn came so fast and so hard that there was no mourning my so-called milestones. :)
The empathy of the staff... including my coworkers who grieved with us.
Kurt and I being able to support one another: when I am low he holds me, and when he weeps, I can be amazed at this strong, gentle, wonderful man God has given me... and he seems to get a blessing out of my feeble attempts to comfort him. :)
The ability to touch my toes again... actually - the ability to see my toes again. :) Leading to...
My mother and Gramma coming in to take me out for a pedicure today... :)
Crying with Baba & Gydo and Auntie Kathy... finally going in the nursery to look at the rocking chair and the crib and bassinet... and being "okay" with her never using them.
Auntie Bev's wonderful soup! Wow - talk about comfort food! :)
Looking at Autumn's pictures with her grandparents... other than us, no one else feels her loss so acutely. I'm so blessed they got time with her!
(Papa - my daddy.)
Do I understand why God has done this? Not at all. But I do know the end of of all things will be for His glory - and He is gracious enough to make sure that includes my good. I know that end will not change even though the path our lives have taken is so different from what we had planned. God always told us the end of the story: he just never reveals what paths we'll take to get there - probably good for someone as weak as me. :)
So my prayer is to keep the faith - not a "crutch", not a fairy-tale that I've invented to help me cope - but the faith that not one part of his original plan has changed. To act according to what I know... which means not despairing of life. Because really: where else would I go? If this life were all there were for me - then what is worth living for? But knowing - knowing - there is a purpose... God is not arbitrary. Nor random and cruel... He gave His son for me so that this life on earth would have purpose... Oh - I hope you can all understand this! I am truly filled with peace. Like Autumn - had she lived - would have slept in our arms without fear of us dropping her... I am convinced that I am held - and tighter and more securely than I would have ever held my daughter. :)
People tell us we are such a light. Oh dear friends: I would not have chosen to shine this way! But our faithful God... who we know loves us... has taken us by the hand and led us to the top of the hill to shine. And just as my heart cries, "Jesus - I can't do this! I miss my baby so much!" He holds me in his arms and reminds me that He is the one who is shining - I have only to cling to Him. :) If you see strength, or hope, or joy in us at this time - it is because He is real.
Thanks again for all your love -
Kurt & Kendall
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
His Word is true. His mercy is new every morning. And His grace is sufficient. And in our weakness - total weakness - He is shown strong. If you see any "strength" in us, it is Him.
As well, I would like to thank the Lord for the love of my life, my wife, the mother of my daughter, my help-mate. She is such a precious gift and a comfort to me. And as I write this, I would ask that you could pray for her in regards to the extreme tension, ringing in her ears, and the various other lingering effects of pregnancy and labor that she if feeling this morning.
Autumn's Memorial Service will be held ...
Date: Friday, October 26, 2007
Place: Fellowship Baptist Church, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (click the link and follow the website directions to find out how you get there from where you are)
Time: 11:00 am
There will be a luncheon to follow from about 12-noon to 2pm. Our plan is then to travel to Leask - where Autumn's body is waiting - to bury our daughter. We don't actually want to say "family only"... so if anyone is desiring to make the hour drive we would be honored. However, there will not be any place to gather after the graveside service in Leask - so we don't want people to feel "pressured" to make the drive all the way there and then back.
Kendall & Kurt
Sunday, October 21, 2007
First, we have to say a huge thank you to all who have dropped off cards, letters, flowers, sent emails and replied to our blog post or asked for prayer for us on your blogs. We are humbled at the grace and love others have shown to us over the last days... we're praising God for all of you.
First of all our daughter's vital statistics:
Length: 20 inches
Weight: 7 pounds, 5 ounces
Her hair is dark brown with a hint of auburn, although her brows and lashes are a fine blond color. Her eyes - when opened gently - are a soft, rich blue. They reminded me of a kitten's - never having been exposed to the light, they were a tad fuzzy - but so huge! She has her mommy's nose and cheeks, and her daddy's lips and chin. The perfect mix of both of us. According to her daddy, she also has mommy's "stubborn forehead"... whatever that means! :)
There is no other way to say it: this time has been so hard for us. We are parents of a beautiful little daughter... and it was such a gift to hold her and touch her. She is absolutely perfect: with no physical defects other than skin that was starting to dry and a head that was shaped by the path "out"... and as we held her and looked at her the suspicion was that she would suddenly take a big breath... but that was not to be. And the gift of yesterday was that we were able to hear babies crying next door as we held our dead daughter and feel joy for their families instead of envy or bitterness.
God allowed me to suffer - quite so! - for a short time as my labor progressed extremely rapid... from 3 to 10 centimeters in one hour! But for the last hour I was able to have a perfect epidural and be not only aware of all that was going on - but remembering and experiencing it without the mind-numbing pain that characterized the first 4 hours. The only hard part of the epidural: having the sensation that I needed to push as the nurse, anesthesiologist and Kurt all said, "Don't move!" :) There was minimal tearing and therefore the need for minimal repairs, and I was able to hold her immediately after her daddy had his first go... and then came my tears - along with more of Kurt's, the nurse's, and our doctor's. As she (our nurse) left for shift change, I grabbed her hand and said, "Thank you for crying with us" which made her choke up again... but to have other's grieve with us was such a neat experience. It added value to our loss and showed preciousness of Autumn - that even strangers would mourn the loss of her tiny little life.
She was (amazingly) still very pink, and so soft and warm to our touch. I thought that pushing out our child who would never cry out-loud would be agony: pain both physically and emotionally... and yet God gave us such grace even in that! It was so peaceful, so gentle - and when our doctor told us "You have a beautiful little... (big pause) girl." We looked at each other with smiles: at last we knew her name! :)
Oh Autumn: we waited so long for you! My precious little girl! Your little heels kicking my ribs gave me such delight - and the knowledge that God was there when you left us allowed me to still delight in their perfection rather than agonize over the futility of perfect little feet that will not serve their purpose. The truth is that you will never toddle towards me with clumsy-little steps. Your eyes will never light up as you recognize me or your daddy. Your tiny fingers will not learn to tie your own shoes. You will never learn to write your beautiful name - which suits you so - in childish letters, or draw me pictures that cover my fridge.. :) You will never say "mommy" or "daddy"... but today... holding you and understanding that you were and are real made that okay. Because you are such a gift!
I know we'll fight to maintain joy: and sometimes (probably even often!) we will stumble... but you will also be our baby for all time. The child we will never have to worry about. If God give us other children, we will be able to tell them, "Your big-sister Autumn made mommy and daddy able to love God so much more - and give you more love than would have been possible had she not existed."
Some members of our family were able to come and spend the morning with us: able to cuddle and hold Autumn and that gave Kurt and I the feeling of not being alone. A reason to reach out to others: to consider other's grief as well as our own. So thanks, family! God used you to keep us happy today - and to save us from a spiral into indescribable pain with no hope. :) Kurt, in particular, who had waited all these months to hold her, got to spend hours just sitting and rocking his little girl until he had his fill. My only grief is that his "daddy time" was over with Autumn almost before it began... and that is something I put before my Lord with a quiet sob.
The nursing staff were so compassionate! God chose to give us two nurses who also had stillborn babies in the past. Their empathy was so real and tangible that there was no doubt they would do anything to help us through this. They took her measurements, clipped a lock of hair for us - took her foot and hand-prints and encouraged us to spend as much time as we wanted to Autumn. Not only that, but He also allowed the baby-boom to slow for one day: and we were able to spend unlimited time with our family first, and then by ourselves with Autumn in the room she was born in - nearly 12 hours from start to finish. What a kind God! :)
So for all who have been praying for Kurt and I over the last few days, and continue to do so: we cannot express our thankfulness with mere words! By your prayers, we have been given the strength by God to do what was unthinkable only 3 days ago: come home without our precious baby... and still smile - for real. :)
His grace alone helps us to stand... and we want to seek after more of it as the shock and uniqueness of these days wears off and we must face a new future without Autumn as we had dreamed.
Kurt is exhausted - he did an amazing job of giving me strength while still letting me and others see his grief. I love him more than I ever have and am filled with wonderment as I have seen him truly become a man who signifies strength and graciousness. He has borne more than many do in a lifetime in these past days - and Christ shone through him as I heard him cry out to God with pain and then smile for this opportunity to suffer for His sake. :)
I am physically drained and sore beyond anything I have ever experienced (even with the epidural). We both need to rest - and yet do not want to become inward focused and depressed. That risk is very real. Even tonight, after everyone had left, we wandered around the house thinking, "Now what?" So please continue to pray for us until this week is done in particular. We want Autumn's funeral to be a place of joy and God's glory and we know that will still require more of us - which will require more of God's strength. Fortunately, the Giver can give in a limitless way and never run out. :)
Much love -
Kurt & Kendall
Saturday, October 20, 2007
This blog post - written October 20th, 2007 - was the first public acknowledgment of our new life as grieving parents after receiving the news.
Since it was written, God has proven Himself strong not only by sustaining us, but by blessing us with two more healthy daughters: Peyton Grace Elaine (October 19th, 2008), and Tenley Breanna Lynn (November 6th, 2010).
We are humbled by these two beautiful gifts.
Autumn is missed every single day... but we cannot doubt God has made us into the parents (and people!) we are because of her loss.
To read more of her story - and ours as we continue to live and grieve - follow the label "Autumn Elizabeth Lee" at the end of this post.
They will start at the most recent - but track backwards to read them in chronological order.
Our hearts are aching for this loss - the joys of expectation shattered and broken.
I, truly, am undone.
And yet... this has been hand-picked by our God for us to bear... and we do not want to dishonor him by dull-minded complaints.
He knows our hearts. He has examined our frame and found we are but dust... and he knew the second that our baby's life left. Not only that... but he decided it. I write it with tears streaming down my face... but with conviction in my heart.
He is a Man of Sorrows - he was acquainted with grief... no one else could sympathize with us as Him... and we love Him more for this.
We've just come home on a pass from a very long day at the hospital where the doctor inserted a drug intended to soften my cervix and bring on labor... and although I'm cramping and spotting there is nothing that said we couldn't come home and try to sleep - as last night was full of sorrow and tears. We will be heading back tomorrow morning to retry another insertion - or sooner if my water breaks. And then the plan is to enter full-scale labor and push out the baby normally.
Please, please pray for us, and for our families... half of our grief is seeing the sorrow of our parents who we love so dearly... and knowing that this baby was a cause of joy for so many.
We will be planning our baby's funeral in the coming days, and will need strength for that. God has already used our little one's death to spread his fame... and we are glad for that.
God does what is best - all the time. For He is all-good and all-wise and always does what is right. We cannot see clearly now - but truly: the 'shine' of this world has been somewhat dulled by the pain of our baby's death... and we remember that this world is not our home. We are waiting and hoping for something better. We know that joy does return, but we have been sobered and taught to always seek God as our source of comfort and happiness.
This is not what I would have chosen - but "to whom else will we turn"?
Today in the hospital, Kurt read me a passage that made tears stream down my face: "You who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice: though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold which perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ - whom having not seen you love."
Our faith is precious: pray that we would guard it and continue to love Jesus - even though we do not see Him. The coming days will be hard - devastatingly so. But God knows. I want to feel, as surly as I feel my husband's hand holding mine, that our God is there when we hold our baby and say goodbye and that He is trustworthy and without fault... because that is true.
Kurt & Kendall
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I've kinda lost track of how many there have been... but it could be my last! :) Ahh... from my fingers to God's ears (which is my favorite line from 'Fiddler on the Roof' except they say "from mouth" instead of "from fingers" because, of course, there were no computers or typewriters in Czarist Russia... but I digress...).
My doctor put us on the induction list for next week, Thursday. Yes, our 4th anniversary. We told the doctor that, and he said that Kurt was kinda lucky that way because he wouldn't have to get me a gift.
We'll see about that.
I'm no experienced expert: but from what I've heard labor is not exactly a picnic. :)
He said that his son was born on Valentines... and it was such a relief to not have to worry about going out and getting a gift for his wife... funny guy. I wonder if that is a pre-requisite for med-school or an aftereffect... Yes... the sarcasm drippeth from my fingers... :)
My blood pressure was also a little high. Actually, it was a lot high for me: 140/87. I've not been above 70 diastolic (bottom number) since this pregnancy began - so the med student with our doctor took it again and it was better the second time. Still 'high-ish' but not dangerously high. Not high enough for him to order an immediate induction. (Praising God!) And no dilation. At all. Shucks.
Shucks with an exclamation mark! (lol!)
I was honest with him about my concerns for the induction route (can lead to C-sections, breastfeeding difficulties post-induction) which he totally understood. I do trust his judgment and understand that the baby is going to be big by that time... but I'm still hoping for another outcome.
He, also, was quick to say at the end of the conversation, "Hopefully we won't have to worry about that!"
Let all the people say, "Amen!" :)
Just to be on the safe side (like to make sure the baby doesn't decide to reverse the head-down position) we've booked another prenatal appointment (our real last one!) for next Wednesday.
Everybody chant now: "Break water, break, break, break!" (lol)
Otherwise, we can plan on getting a call about 7 am next Thursday telling us when to "come on down!"
Either way: God knows when this baby is going to be born, and we really (truly!) are more than okay with trusting Him. No one will be hurt by more prayer! I really do want to give thanks in everything...
Remind me I said that later. (lol!)
This is my "I'm tired" picture. ;) Great expression, huh? Funny that we have wedding pictures with the exact same expression... Wonder what my excuse was then? :)
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Alas. Not so... not yet, anyway. :)
We're having a pretty easy day here in Manzville: baby is kicking, I'm reading and keeping my feet up, Kurt is doing business calls and computer stuff... and Oscar is enjoying having both of us around. :)
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
My mom worked days, and weeks and months (take your pick - all 3 apply!) to create this for the baby. Her first ever crochet project. I can't wait to wrap our little one in it... and it is big enough to wrap myself in at the same time. Great for those chilly winter mornings!
Mom: thanks again for your efforts - I love you so much - and I am not only impressed at your wanting to undertake such a task, but also at how beautiful it is. An excellent first try! :) Notice behind the yellow blanket is a white one? That is the one that my Gramma White made for me when I was a newborn. I guess the bar has been set for when I'm the gramma, huh? ;)
That kid should be wrinkling and drying before our eyes. Oh - the risk to being a postpartum nurse... I know what happens to overdue babies! :) I keep telling my belly that... but it must be a boy because the appeal to vanity isn't working. (lol) Granted, it is only 1 day over, but I feel I have to start the persuasion now - before we get to the 25th (my 10-day, doctor-will-insist-on-an-induction, even though it is our 4th anniversary, mark).
In other news (I feel like Peter Mansbridge)... Kurt is again at the farm. This poor child must be so confused at his/her father telling it so many times, "You can come out now. No, wait - don't!" :) He'll be back again tonight... hopefully he and dad will be getting everything that is needed done today. I'm praying for both of them!
Funny story: last night around 2 am, I was awake and thinking about "the future", and said to Kurt (who was still mostly asleep), "I'm thinking about going to the hospital." My poor husband yelped, "What?!?!" and nearly vaulted out of bed to run for our bags.
I quickly corrected that, saying, "Oh no, Kurt! I'm thinking about how it will go when we 'go to the hospital'..." and to his credit he just laughed and said - drifting back to sleep after the oxygen returned to his lungs - "Don't be so hard on an old man."
Old man? As long as we're the same age (a narrow window of 4 months) he is not old... he is mature. He gets old on January 19th.
Ah... the bliss of creating my own reality. ;)
So... that is how the world looks on day '-1'. :) I'm going to drink lots of water and keep my feet up. Funny how those two seem to contraindicate one another at this point in my life... but it will be my goal nonetheless. :)
Have a great day, everyone! :)
Monday, October 15, 2007
Couldn't help myself - this short one cracked me up, too! (Especially knowing that the Bullmastiff could hold the Jack Russel Terrier in his mouth just like the bone... lol!) The little dog is so persistent... and the Bully (short for Bullmastiff) just ignores him. :)
So many characteristics are similar... right down to the pleading eyes, the staring at the toy, and the way he grabs things with his paws. When he looks at his master, it is like he is saying, "But your kid wants me to have the toy!" (lol)
The video isn't in English - but you get the gist of why this kind of dog is so highly recommended for people with little kids. :)
It's kinda anti-climactic, isn't it?
... and I say that in a completely thankful, excited way... :)
We'll keep you posted... :) Thanks to everyone who is praying and hoping along with us...
(Yes, this is my belly. No, that isn't a real butterfly. Chuckle...)
Sunday, October 14, 2007
I've skipped church.
Sigh. I could state that I'll still read my bible and pray, and sing a few songs... but I do feel badly about missing my time with the gang.
Not only are my eyes closing almost spontaneously, but my body is full of aches and pains that I haven't been aware of before. Does this mean it is gearing up - or just playing with my mind? Ugh. Furthermore - and this is just embarrassing - my pregnancy clothes aren't fitting so hot. Even the pants with the extra panel of fabric are just restraining me... and the band rolls down voluntarily exposing my belly - quite immodest if my shirt isn't long enough! ;) I'm glad the baby is growing - but for Pete's sake - you could just come out now...
I love being pregnant. :)
I'll love it more when it's over.
My consolation is that next week would be the last Sunday that we'll be there without the baby. My doctor stood pretty firm on the "no longer than 10 days overdue" mandate at the last prenatal appointment... so even that point is only 11 days away. Crazy that we're so near. Perhaps - perhaps - the Lord will be gracious and we'll even have he/she there next Sunday. Ironically, the more days that pass without Baby Manz arriving, the more unlikely it seems that he/she will ever come.
I'm not sure if it is supposed to work like that. Maybe I'm just kinda funny that way.
Anyway - greetings to the saints that I missed seeing today - I'm praying for all of you. Kurt, darling that he is, after suggesting that this might be the best course of action, winked, laughed deviously and said, "And then I can teach you when I get home." ;) So I'm sure I won't miss anything. :)
AND - hi to mom and dad who are working hard today to get the order ready to go... praying it goes well and, if nothing else, you can enjoy your time together. Hearkens back to the old-days, huh?
Friday, October 12, 2007
The banana bread was nice and extra moist. The reason for the extra moistness was that the recipe only called for 2 bananas but Kendall added an extra one. What a recipe rebel. However it was a good decision. Hopefully this banana bread making episode will continue and not stop when the nesting phase ends :)
The next post I do will be post-baby 'cause this is hard. It hearkens me back to my university days when 10 page essays would take 3 months.
I'm sure he'll be thrilled. (snicker!)
However, in any case I've heard him tell people that he'll enter "bloggy-world" when Baby Manz arrives... so I figured that I should make sure he has access for when that happens.
As a result, though, the "contributor" profiles are both "hidden" - as in you have to click them to see them. But his is worth checking out. What a hottie! :) I can hardly believe that God gave me such a good looking, sweet, kind, godly, wonderful man. All that from a picture... what vivid interpretive skills I have...
Of course, I picked the picture... but I also have the creative rights to this blog - so there!
Stay tuned for the first-ever posts from "Mr Manz". How exciting! :)
To celebrate this momentous occasion properly, I've rearranged a few things on the blog... hope I haven't thrown anyone for too much of a loop. :)
BTW: As of this morning my banana bread is baking, and I feel domestic... and I wonder how long this so-called 'nesting' thing lasts, anyway? I feel like I've been doing this kind of stuff all week. I even dusted my venetian blinds. After avoiding that nasty task for an entire year, there really is no other explanation than 'nesting' for the sudden desire to clean them.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Don't worry - all I know about you is what city or town you are in and how long you looked for - or if you linked-in from someone else's blog. (You can see it too if you click my counter.) That disclaimer is written in case me seeing you seeing my blog freaks you out.
Kidding - I lurk on a lot of sites, too - so no worries for those of who who read but don't comment...
That said - I love comments - so feel free at any time if so moved! :)
Anyway, now I know - for sure - when it is my mom, or Kurt's mom, Amanda or Shiela (their work sites have very specific addresses.) I just try to guess at everyone else on the side. It keeps me amused and occupied waiting for the baby... (LOL!) :-D
Just thought I'd point that cool-ish fact out. :) Goodnight all!
The funny thing is that it has never, ever crossed my mind that the baby would/could actually come on the due date. I don't know if I've ever known anyone who was... until I talked to Baba this weekend and she told me that 2 of her 4 children were born on their due date. Sheesh! But at my friend Shiela's request - I'll try not to have the baby until she gets back from the far-north on Sunday. :)
So here we sit - 4 days left before the actual/potential due date. :) I've made a big batch of spaghetti sauce, and (brace yourselves) printed off a recipe for banana bread to bake. Yes - bake. Myself. (Dramatic music, please.) Maybe I'll take a picture. Maybe I'll just get my husband to write a glowing review of the carbohydrate feast... the possibilities are endless. Stay tuned!
(Mmmmm! Banana bread rocks!!)
I was sitting in the rocking chair, and Kurt was in the hallway talking to me when Oscar brought up his rope-bone and wanted to play 'tug-of-war' with Kurt. After Kurt told him "All done." ( our universal, "Stop it, Oscar." command) Oscar dropped the bone, but decided that it would be enough "just to be with" his master.
He stepped into Kurt's lap and curled up just like he did when he was an itty-bitty puppy... only now it is pretty much only his head that fits in Kurt's lap! :) Don't they look cute?
I love the contrasts in these pictures... it is really amazing to see what a few months can do... can't imagine what it is going to be like watching the baby grow! :)
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Just for your information: the indoor pictures are at her studio downtown, and the outside pictures are taken at Innovation Place. She told us to take 2 or 3 changes of clothes and there was no extra charge to change sites. It was the first time I had ever been at Innovation Place - and I was amazed at how beautiful it is - even at dusk. It almost makes me want to learn to garden. Almost. :)
I think Melina did a wonderful job of capturing not only how much we are in love (tee-hee!) but also the richness of the scenery - especially the green shades. Let me know what you think! :)
Monday, October 8, 2007
I watched my beloved Riders kick some Stampeder butt this afternoon... well, until the 4th quarter when my pregnant body demanded sleep and I was konked out for 20 minutes.
But I woke up in time to figure out they won - 33 to 21... most convincingly, I might add. :)
We're at the farm again today - I think Kurt and dad are moving bins over at the other site - so watching the game in HD on a big-screen TV wasn't too sad. :) Since we're here (and no water breakage or contractions are obvious) we'll stay at my Baba and Gydo's for supper before going back to the city tonight. Cabbage rolls and perogies. Mmmm... I love being 'ethnic'. ;)
(Baba & Gydo - married 53 years and still having a blast with one another!)
The other part of the weekend was a restful Saturday, and a Sunday afternoon "Thanksgiving" lunch at Kiley and Jessica's with G&G White, and another "Thanksgiving" supper at our house - with just Kurt, Cody and myself. Dearest husband that he is, Kurt took care of almost everything... I only made the gravy and made sure the chicken was well-seasoned. Thanks honey - your stuffing was awesome! :)
Kurt kept telling my belly, "Okay, you can come out now!" But Baby Manz decided that thanksgiving - this year - will not be a birthday. But if the kid isn't careful, next weekend (which is usually Thanksgiving) could be his/her birthday.
We'll keep you posted!
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Thursday was a doctor's appointment: the baby hadn't moved very much that morning (quite out of character for the little bambino!) so he sent us to the hospital for a non-stress test. IE: attaching my belly to a fetal heart monitor. Baby decided (as he/she had a month - to the day - earlier!) to start moving and fidgeting... so all was well. Heart rate and appropriate accelerations and decelerations... not to mention we saw a Braxton Hicks on the monitor - so we know what a 'contraction' looks like. Very cool. And a relief - we were thanking the Lord that baby is still "okay". :)
Friday was a much-overdue date with some of my nursing girls: thanks for the initiative Crystal! Was so good to see you and Roz and Anna... and I enjoyed my massive clubhouse - even if I did have to eat it with a fork and knife. ;)
And today is Saturday... cleaning, and hanging out with the love of my life (that would be Kurt... chuckle). :) Not much - but fun, nonetheless. Hopefully I'll kick his fine-bottom in cribbage. ;)
Oh yeah! The gal who did our pregnancy photographs just built her website this week. Of course I had to check it out and see if I or we were on there anywhere... and I am! :) She does amazing work - if you're looking for a photographer in Saskatoon, we definitely recommend Melina Perron Photography. :) Look around her site to see the other stuff she does if you're interested. The neat part is that as part of the package with the pregnancy shoot, we get a 'free' sitting fee after the baby is born! So I'm very much looking forward to capturing our little one's "littleness" in a unique way later on. :)
And that is the Manzville update! Thanks for reading! :)
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
I'll admit that usually (especially lately) I've felt keenly the whole "camera adds 10 pounds" adage. (Or in my case, more like 30 or way more lbs!) I like being the picture taker much more than being the picture takee. (Is that a real word?)
I was prepared to wince mightily, but after seeing the pictures there is only one of two possibilities: Kurt is either one heck of a photographer or I've finally grown into this pregnancy (now that it is almost done) plus I feel rested today, plus the shirt is a great accent. The blouse is one I bought at the start of the pregnancy but haven't worn very much because it is "dressy"... but even with jeans it worked tonight.
And my husband's reaction was most satisfying. ;) So, mom, thanks for insisting I buy it waaaaay back in April! And - I must note - I am not in any way sticking my tummy out further... it really sticks out that far on its own! (LOL!) Also nice to know: Baby Manz and I aren't going to share the same birthday - yay!
(Notice how I match the picture behind me? It was painted by Kurt's Grampa E, by the way.)
(Kurt's favorite picture. He says I look like "a mom"... whatever that means...)
(27 years old and 38 weeks, 2 days pregnant!)
1) My salvation 2) The baby's movements - constant and painful. ;) 3) Kurt is home safely until the Baby comes! 4) I received wonderful cards from my grandparents that made me smile and tear up this year 5) Oscar the rambunctious! 6) Kurt making me birthday breakfast. Mmmmm - sausages! 7) Our "new" car - and all the work we still have to get done - wink! 8) For God granting me 27 years when so many don't make it that far. 9) For my Dad who works hard every day and give such a great testimony to God's provision - even when he'd rather relinquish that burden at times. I love you daddy - thanks for making sure I'll always be your Kendally-Poo. :) 10) For my in-laws: their generosity and willingness to give whole-heartedly for us and the baby 11) For the people across the back alley cleaning up their graffiti yesterday after it being there for 2 years! 12) Coffee. 13) For my brothers, Kiley and Cody, whom I love dearly - even if sometimes in the rush and haze of life I don't get to communicate that. 14) For my brother-in-law, Dean: you're a special guy and I've really grown to love and appreciate you over the years... thanks for keeping Kurt in line until he met me. (lol!) 15) My two wonderful sister-in-laws: Amanda and Jessica... you guys have both exceeded my expectations of what that relationship would/should be like - love you both! 16) My aching tummy! Stretch muscles - stretch!!! 17) Julie C, who helped me get my baby-scrapbook ready for "the arrival" - thanks for your time and effort yesterday - I look forward to sharing the finished project with you! 18) Did I mention breakfast? ;) 19) For the show "House" which I throughly enjoy and still learn from... it inspires me to stay involved in the medical field... really! 20) For all the major purchases being done before the baby arrived! 21) For my church family: everyone who loves the Lord with me. Ya'll - we are not perfect... but God put us here for a reason together, and I enjoy the walk together. 22) For grocery shopping: the ability to buy and eat food is a blessing that I'm learning to not take for granted. 23) For wonderful friends - be they nursing or "soccer" girls... I love you all so much and it has been such a blessing to have great "girlfriends" who are eagerly anticipating this baby as much as we are! 24) For God making my heart prayerful in these last few days... pretty much if I think of you, I pray for you! 25) For $30 worth of Superstore SuperBucks after Kurt's road trip - Aye Carumba! 26) For my mom: over the past few weeks you've been such a joy to talk and hang out with... I can't wait to see you with your first grandchild - you're going to be a wonderful "Nanna". :) 27) For my Kurt - marriage is such a joy and adventure with you... and I am so blessed to have spent the last 5 birthdays with you... thanks for keeping me when you found me. ;)
Oh - bonus "thanks": 12 days! :)
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
I'm not sure how he got so clockwork... because even daylight is no cue with the mornings starting later and later... but - without fail (unless he's been up late or super-early) - that dog is in our room at 7:30 (give or take 5 minutes) every morning to notify us that he has "needs".
He comes in, goes around to Kurt's side of the bed, plops his oversize butt down, sits perfectly still and stares straight at you until you feel the eerie sensation of being watched. If you don't notice soon enough, he starts to breathe deeply. Not whine... just these long, drawn-out breaths that are impossible to ignore, and more impossible to sleep through. Now that I think of it, 'Vader' would have been a great name for him...
If he is sent out of the room, he sighs, leaves and comes back within 9 minutes. I'm not kidding... the dog also has a flippin' snooze button! He can hold his bladder for 10 hours each night - but don't make him wait 10 minutes longer in the morning than he is used to... chuckle.
And if that doesn't work he gets manipulative. He has this gigantic bone that he carries around the house - and never drops during the day... but if you're too slow off the uptake, that bone is dropped - fully dropped - on the ceramic tile outside our bedroom door. That gets us up in a hurry... and makes us feel badly for the guys in the basement. He's willing to take the reprimand for the drop, because it serves his goal...
Honestly - he is a borderline human.
So normally I don't care because he goes around to Kurt's side and my hubby-dearest must deal with the early morning stalker... but when he's out of town - guess who gets it?
Moi. I try to hide in the middle of the bed, but the dog is tall enough that he can simply change his position to peer at me from whichever angle is necessary to communicate his needs with the stares and breathing. Quite unnerving... but once you do move (saying things like, "Okay! I'm getting out of bed up you annoying grumble-grumble-grumble...") he transforms into a lively, excited, bash-in-the-drywall-with-his-tail kind of dog again.
The rest of his morning is equally consistent. He goes out, does his business quickly and runs back in to check his dog dish which I usually fill while he is outside. If it isn't filled, he stares with the saddest look on his face between me and it until I fill the dish. It is like he's thinking "You only had one task - how could you fail in it?" :) After eating, he'll take another trip outside to complete the business, and come back into play with a toy for 15 minutes before falling back asleep for another 2-3 hours... what a life! :)
What a companion. (snicker)
13 days to go! :)
Monday, October 1, 2007
Birth doesn't feel imminent - but I know it will happen sometime. Kinda like the Lord's return... doesn't feel like it but just as certain as childbirth. :) Crazy. And - by the way - I notice that the baby on the right decided to nap during the entirety of week 37, but has decided to grace us with a view of his/her blue eyes again. :)
Yesterday were blessed by a visit with Kurt's folks who dropped off my birthday cake (yes... rapidly approaching 27 - might be able to fill out those preadmission "what is your current age?" question sheets after all) and some garden produce. The fun part of the afternoon was creating a 'pool' (of sorts) to guess the due date, weight and hight... we've kinda given up on gender because I can visualize both - and now I truly do have to wait and see! :)
So since the birthday is so close (even if I went massively overdue - it is still close)... and I'm home most of the time - I figure that I can put updates on of some kind ("interesting" updates are so subjective to define...) pretty much everyday.
On another - sobering - note: I just read the message that John Piper preached at his granddaughter's funeral. She was a full-term stillborn baby - Felicity Margaret. I am more convinced than ever that this baby of ours - and his/her little (or not!) movements - including the heart and lungs - are fully in God's hands... and I pray for the strength to love my Lord more even as Piper and his family are striving to do despite what He brings across my path - remembering where my hope and contentment are based and clinging to Jesus no matter what. Check out the blog here.