I sadly did not know the meaning of sacrifice..........before Ella. That seems to be the main theme this last year. I have been reminded about it numerous times, one being at Ella's baby shower. It all started in the womb. I was constantly battling cramps, scary cramps, at just 19 weeks. No bleeding or anything, just awful cramps. With that, came extreme uncomfortableness, and depression. I know I was depressed. There were times I would sit and just stare, and cry, lots. I felt very alone as at this point in time Peter was in beets. I felt alone spiritually, bitter at God that he had deserted me and left me to feel this way during pregnancy. My once toned body was changing, I was tired all the time, etc. I slowly fell in and out of this pattern - disappointed and desperate to enjoy the rest of the pregnancy.
The last four weeks were exceptionally uncomfortable. I had troubles falling asleep, and Ella would kick often, and hard making it impossible to stay asleep even if I was incredibly tired. There was just something about this pregnancy that seemed totally different. Everything was much harder, and people assured me it was because I had two others at home.
I always worried, of course that something might be wrong with the baby. It seems with more pregnancies, the more worried I got. Down syndrome, among other things were high on the worry list. I remember one time as we were driving, Peter told me we should remember the cost of diapers and etc for the new baby and I thought to myself "lord willing, if we have a baby". It seemed to be always in my thoughts and I knew it was sinful to have such a spirit of fear and worry, yet I just couldn't let go of it, even after lots and lots of prayer. One morning at church, our pastor gave us a time of prayer, and the topic was "trials". I remember him asking us to think of a trial we are in, or about to face, that we need to ask Gods help in. Like always, I closed my eyes and waited for God to nudge something into my mind. Usually this happened with visions of words or phrases. This time it was a single word. Baby.
I remember my shoulders dropping very heavily and I let out a sigh of disappointment and heartache. No.... not the baby, I thought. I had just a month to go, and again, the spirit of fear was upon me. I was careful not to say anything to peter, and as I brought this up in my small group, they assured me it didn't have to mean HEALTH. It could mean that the switch to three children could be a trial and challenge. So, I went with that.
Nursing was always such a sweet thing to me. It was always given that I would just get to nurse. Nursing was natural, and it was something also I had taken for granted with the other two, or so it seems. I know thats not necessarily true, because there were many many times I stroked my girls' faces while nursing, thinking how precious it was to be able to provide nourishment for them. To see them grow. It was such a special time for me. When I had troubles nursing Ella, it was completely devastating to me. It still is. Not only have I lost the one connection that is not replaceable, it is SO much work to pump. I can't even tell you. I have/had cried so many tears when Ella was screaming in hunger and I had to strap on my pumping bra and all my 'attachments' before I could answer her hunger pains with a BOTTLE. A bottle first of pumped milk, my milk at least, along with an ounce or two of formula. I thought by now i would get the hang of this, get into a routine or SOMETHING. But it is equally exhausting as the first day. I am getting the same amount of sleep, same number of pumps, the same amount of time away from the kids, meals, etc. I have a hard time keeping up with housework, and most of the time I just roll with it, trying to keep up. Sometimes it is depressing.
Yesterday was one of those times where it was hectic, yet I tried to keep a good attitude. Ella was the fussiest I think she's ever been. She must have had gas. We tried going for a walk with the family, and to spend time together doing fun things. Peter got tired on the couch, I had only one hour until I had to pump next so we really needed to get going if we were going to have some family fun. We started our walk; Ella was uncomfortable and whining. We had troubles finishing our walk b/c she was fussy and when we got home, she wouldn't stop crying! I had to pump, so i encouraged the kids to get some goldfish to bring into the living room, and i assured them I would do some of their crafts while I pumped. I think you have to be creative if you are going to make pumping work. It was 8:15, they needed a snack before bed and they wanted attention. I had to also pump, so this is how I could make it work. Doing all three at once, a moms point of view. Ella was screaming in peters lap, he was beyond frustrated and just set her down and walked away, also mad that the kids were eating in the living room. I shouted to him as he brought them into the kitchen.. I HAVE TO PUMP! this is how i have to make it work! The kids ate their snack and instead of pumping I tried to nurse Ella. She got enough breastmilk to settle down and fall asleep, both her and I satisfied in our session and again, I strapped the pump on and began to pump. In enough time for the girls to finish their snack and come into the living room so I could read 3 books to them... quietly, because Ella was sleeping. After finishing pumping, Peter brushed their teeth and I read one more book to them. I came into the living room at about 9:10 and Ella was stirring, ready to eat. So I picked her up, fed her, put her to bed, washed bottles, put away dishes, washed up, pumped again, ready for bed.. No shower. Sacrifice. Every last bit of energy and time are for my kids. I woke up at 2:30am, nursed Ella-- this seemed like the best nurse session yet, though she drank continually, it seemed her latch still wasn't quite right as it sort of hurt. She nursed for 7 minutes on my right, and then I coaxed her to nurse on my left side while lying down and that seemed to work best for her since the left is definitely not a preferred side! I felt her latch was better, until she spit it out and fell asleep at peace. I put her to bed, pumped for another half hour, and went to bed. She woke up 2 hours later and I fed her the rest of the bottle I pumped plus an ounce that was in the fridge. I am thinking she hardly got over an ounce but i'll never know. Then now, at 6:30 I am pumping again. I'll try to go to sleep and wake up to maybe nurse/pump, breakfast, and hope to get a shower in. This is my season, and i am praying that God will reveal his love to me in a special way since it gets so tiring. My hope is that I will have and continue to have a love for my kids that isn't full of resentment or bitterness from all the work I have to do for them. I'm praying for a miracle with nursing.... it would make things so much easier! Please pray with me!